How are Businesses Responding to Investor Pressure on Climate Change?

Image by Christopher Burns, sources from Unsplash.
Wednesday 5 June 2019, 6.00pm - 7.30pm

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Law Foyer, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney


Part Two of the Business Making of Climate Change series 

Many businesses are already feeling the effects of climate change, including:

  • the chronic effects of longer-term shifts in temperature;
  • the effects on weather systems that can cause extreme events such as floods and cyclones; and
  • the effects arising from transitioning to a low-carbon economy, which can generate shifts in technology, policy and consumer sentiment.

As a consequence, investors are expecting far greater insight and transparency around the ways in which organisations are preparing for the shorter and longer-term risks and opportunities that might arise.

The complexities of climate science, the plethora of data available, and the difficulty in applying that science and data at the local scale and in financial terms, means many organisations are left scrambling.

Just how are businesses responding to this challenge? And where do the complexities lie? This event brings together consultants, academics, NGOs and corporate managers to discuss the work they have been involved in, in responding to such challenges and complexities.


Theo Comino, AGL
Amber Johnston-Billings, KPMG
Kate MacKenzie, European Climate Foundation
Sharanjit Paddam, QBE Insurance Group
Cécile Walton, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Dr Tanya Fiedler (Chair), University of Sydney Business School

About the Business Making of Climate Change series 

In contrast to our political elites, the last 3-5 years have seen a rapid acceleration in awareness of climate change as a business risk. This re-framing of the climate crisis, from an environmental to an economic concern, is in large part a product of announcements made – not by scientists or policy makers – but by representatives of the financial system. The Business Making of Climate Change series of public talks brings together investors, lawyers, insurers, corporates, consultants and scientists, as they collectively consider why climate change is increasingly relevant to the business community, as well as how businesses can make sense of climate change in a way that is relevant to them. The series is convened by Dr Tanya Fiedler and produced by Michelle St Anne.


Theo Comino is Manager of Greenhouse and Sustainability at AGL. With over ten years of experience in greenhouse, sustainability and climate risk reporting including experience in renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrical engineering, Theo is passionate about tackling climate change. His role at AGL involves the management of climate change reporting from both a regulatory and non-regulatory perspective along with broader sustainability reporting, climate change policy and associated strategy development. Theo has a Bachelor of Engineering in Photovoltaics and Solar Energy from the University of New South Wales, and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Technology Sydney.

Amber Johnston-Billings is a Director of Climate Change and Sustainability Services, where she works with companies to highlight and analyse their climate-related risks and opportunities. This work involves strategy and scenario analysis, including the application of climate science to understand the physical impacts on assets, supply chains and customer segments as well as broader societal risks such as food and water insecurity and resultant conflict. Amber supports companies in setting targets, disclosure, governance and risk management related both to climate change and other areas of sustainability. Amber was previously the Head of Sustainability and Reporting at South32, where she produced one of the world’s first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reports, set a net-zero emission target and supported the company to divest from thermal coal. Prior to this Amber worked with sub-National governments in West Africa to build green economies.

Cécile Walton is the Executive Manager of Corporate Responsibility at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which she joined in 2010. Cécile and her team work across the business on a broad portfolio of strategic and operational ESG matters. This includes driving initiatives and programs of work on Climate Change or Human Rights related matters. It also includes producing transparent market disclosures on ESG progress and performance – such as climate disclosures in line with the TCFD recommendations. Prior to working with CBA, Cécile worked as a management consultant with Accenture London office on domestic and international projects and client engagements. Cécile is a French and Australian citizen.

Sharanjit Paddam is Head of ESG Risk at QBE Insurance Group, where his responsibilities include TCFD reporting. He was previously an actuarial consultant to general insurers and banks in the UK and Australia, specialising in natural disasters and climate risk management and disclosure. Sharanjit convenes the Actuaries Institute’s Climate Change Working Group and lectures on ESG as part of the actuarial education program. He is also a member of the IGCC’s adaptation working group, the Insurance Council of Australia’s Climate Change Action Committee, the Advisory Panel to the Whitsunday’s Climate Change Innovation Hub, and a contributing author to the IPCC AR6 Working Group II Australasia.

Tanya Fiedler is a lecturer in the Discipline of Accounting. Tanya’s current research interests lie in the ways in which the measurement methods and data of science are translated into accounting information. In this regard, Tanya has a particular interest in accounting for the climate.Tanya completed her PhD at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia in 2016. Tanya’s thesis examined the making of Australia’s first nation-wide carbon market, by means of a longitudinal analysis of archival documents spanning 15 years. Tanya is currently working with multiple partners in industry and the climate science community, to examine how climate models and data can be utilised by the financial services and investment sector to manage climate opportunities and risk. Prior to her academic career, Tanya worked as a consultant for Energetics, a specialist carbon and energy consultancy.